Second Time Around
Late Muzzleloader season has been pretty productive hunting, over our food plots the last several years. This year’s weather was rather mild, there was still a lot of green for the deer to eat but the food plots were still doing their job. As Kim and I climbed in our stand which was a new shooting box we built over the summer, we had high hopes for a productive evening, even though the weather was very warm and mild. It was a short wait until the first bucks of the evening showed up. One of which was a very nice 3 ½ year old eight pointer. I almost decided to take but at the last moment decided he needed one more year. He fed for a while and eventually made his way off into the timber. We were still discussing if I had messed up by passing that buck when we saw more deer heading to the food plot. Several deer had entered the food plot when we noticed a good buck heading our way. I knew as soon as I saw this buck he was a shooter. As the buck entered the food plot and began to feed, I got my T.C. up and ready for the shot, with crosshairs on his shoulder I squeezed the trigger. When the gun went off there was a total white out. I couldn’t see a thing through the thick smoke. When the smoke finally cleared, the buck was running away from us, headed for the timber. He stopped just before jumping the fence and just stood there.
I could tell he was hit hard, but felt the ethical thing to do would be to get another shot in him to put him down as quickly as possible. I reloaded, settled the crosshairs and shot again. This time the buck jumped the fence and went out of sight through the trees. I knew he was hit but, didn’t know how well. So, we elected to back out and come back the next morning.
That night at home we watched the footage back several times, trying to see where I hit the buck but, there was too much smoke. However we did realize that this was a buck we had had a lot of history with. I had filmed Kim miss this same buck one year earlier, then in the spring of 2011 we found both of his sheds and later that summer we had saw him a couple of times feeding in a nearby alfalfa field. He had not been seen again until today.
Shortly after daylight the next morning we started our search where he had jumped the fence into the timber. We found blood immediately and had a good trail to follow. A few minutes and only 100 yards later we had found him and I was holding a great mountain buck from our home state of Virginia. We had taken the sheds from the previous year with us and compared them to his current head gear. He had grown quite a bit but there was no mistaking he was the same deer.
This was a great 5 ½ year old Virginia buck but, what makes this special to me is all the history we’ve had with him. Kim has the sheds on a Mountain Mike’s Skull Master Kit to remember her miss and I have the mount, so we ended up with this buck being a trophy for us both.